The Hero of Regression – The Talentless Boy Vows to Protect His Childhood Friend, the Female Hero, This Time Around – Chapter 61

𝐒𝐞𝐧𝐝

𝐒𝐞𝐧𝐝

Fresh blood splatters in the air.

The dark blue blood of Rest, tainted by demons, scatters around him and the Beast King at the epicenter.

For a moment, my brain refuses to process the meaning of this spectacle, almost causing my thoughts to come to a complete halt.

“Hey, you. . . . . .”

“Huh? Oh, if it ain’t you, the small fry from the other day.

You really struggled against these small fry demons, didn’t you?

Hah! You’re not even worth mentioning!”

Still reeling from confusion, the Beast King responds with utterly nonsensical words.

What is he saying?

What is he doing?

Indeed, from the perspective of common sense, it’s hard to definitively say that the actions of the Beast King are wrong.

As a Holy Warrior, or rather as a human being in this world, hunting demons—the enemies of the world—is only natural.

Killing a person controlled by a demon might not be entirely right, but it’s also not entirely wrong.

If there were no other means to save them or if the situation was so dire that they had to be killed, it would be accepted as unavoidable.

But that wasn’t the case for Rest.

He could have been saved with just a little more effort.

There was no compelling reason to kill him.

Rest was desperately resisting the demon’s control, and there were clear ways to restrain and save him.

Ignoring all these circumstances, this guy who senselessly stole the life of a young hero, gloating as he did so, fills me with nothing but murderous intent.

However, before my eyes cloud over with the urge to kill, I see it.

Rest’s body, which should have had its head crushed, twitches for a moment.

“Huh?”

Suddenly, the Beast King lets out such a sound.

By the time he realizes it, the headless body of Rest has grasped his ankle with its arm.

“Whaaaaaaa?!”

Whether he let his guard down thinking Rest was definitively dead, or simply astonished that Rest is still moving despite taking so much damage, the Beast King has no time to react.

He is thrown by the arm that gripped his ankle and sent flying into a barracks, which is transformed into a pile of rubble as it takes the impact of the Beast King.

It’s unlikely that the Holy Warrior known as the Beast King would die from such an ordeal.

But for now. . . . . .

“Rest-kun!”

“■■■■■■■■■■■!!!”

Finally arriving at this scene, in front of Stella, the woman he loves, Rest is turning into a monstrous creature.

Screaming through his broken throat, his magical power surging tremendously, he slowly regenerates his head.

However, perhaps needing even more demonic power to heal what would be fatal damage for a human, Rest’s claws and fangs grow sharper and beast-like, large wings like those of a bat sprout from his back, and he increasingly drifts away from his human form.

The reason that had been resisting the power of the demon also vanishes, as he temporarily lost the organ necessary for thinking—his head—and there’s no stopping it now.

By now, that’s not Rest anymore.

What’s in front of me is just a demon.

The current Rest looks so monstrous that such a thought inadvertently crosses my mind.

“N, No. . . . . .”

“Snap out of it, Stella! You’re an easy target like this!”

“But, b-but the demonic power is so strong. . . . . .I don’t know if we can cure that. . . . . .Even if it’s the three of us—me, Rin, and Ernesta-san. . . . . .”

“That’s no reason to lose your will to fight!

If you’re going to step onto the battlefield, see it through to the end whether you win, lose, or run!

The only ones who have the right to cry or to despair are those who have fought to the end!”

“I-I get it, okay! I get that much!”

Stella steeled herself, gripping her wooden sword from the Divine Tree, after I gave her a verbal kick in the rear.

That said, despite my bravado, all I can really do is assist in capturing the target.

But it’s a fact that we have to capture it before anything can start.

Just have to do what we can do.

“How much mana do you have left?”

“Plenty. Casting spells to calm the townspeople isn’t too draining compared to combat.”

“Good. I’ll leave the capturing and calming to you. I’ll handle holding it back and creating an opening. . . . . .It’s coming!”

“■■■■■■■■■■!!!”

Screaming, Rest attacks us, having become a mere monster devoid of both sword and reason.

I serve as Stella’s wall, intercepting Rest.

Meanwhile, Stella begins chanting her spell.

“O divine force, a fragment of God’s mighty power, become a calming wedge for this one who’s driven to madness and reveal yourself.”

As soon as the incantation ended, I struck Rest, creating an opening.

I deflected the attack with the same claws as earlier using Flowing Blade, then made a swift strike to Rest’s right shoulder with the right-hand wooden sword.

Just like when I faced the female Ax user with Doug-san, instead of inflicting wounds, I dislocated the shoulder joint to delay regeneration even slightly.

Furthermore, using the wooden sword that had hit the shoulder as a pivot point, I continued to rotate following the principles of First Strike Deformation, Flowing Wheel.

While taking the position behind Rest, I struck the left shoulder with the left-hand wooden sword, dislocating the joint.

Even then, it didn’t stop; this time, I used the left-hand wooden sword as a pivot point to keep rotating.

Finally, from the side of Rest, I struck its head with both wooden swords with all my might.

Sixth Strike Deformation, Heaven Shaker.

As a result, Rest had both shoulders dislocated and its brain shaken, causing it to stagger for a moment.

“Now!”

“『Sacred Chain』!”

At that moment, Stella’s spell explodes.

Rest’s movement is restricted by the same Sacred Chain that bound Dragburn and the elves.

“■■■■■■■■■■!!!”

However, Rest struggles violently, trying to break free.

Terrifyingly, the chains from Stella’s fully-chanted spell are creaking.

Cracks are starting to form, it won’t hold for long.

Its dislocated shoulders have naturally healed.

Though I continue to slam Heaven Shaker into Rest’s head to keep it under control, it’s not particularly effective without being combined with Flowing Blade.

But while I’m doing that, Stella is already progressing with her next spell’s chant.

“O divine force, a fragment of God’s mighty power, wash away the impurities with your holy force, cleanse, wipe it away, and reach out with salvation to the lamb afflicted with disease. ━━ 『High-Level Status Ailment Recovery』!”

The magic of status abnormality recovery that Rin was using.

A higher-level magic with greater required magical power and activation difficulty than that, enveloped Rest, where the healing magic ran wild.

“How about now?”

“No good! It’s not effective at all!”

But it has no effect.

Even worse,

“■■■■■■■■■■■!!!”

Rest lets out a scream, channeling tremendous power into its arm, and even emitting a shockwave from within its body. This combined force shatters the Sacred Chain.

The surrounding area is blasted away by the shockwave.

Although I manage to deflect the residual force with Slashing Sweep, I can’t extend my protection to the soldiers lying all around.

Soldiers are sent flying by the shockwave.

Damn it!

Managing Rest in this condition while also attempting a soldier rescue is just too tough!

Given that Rest has lost all rationality, we can’t even expect unconscious resistance to avoid killing.

Do we gamble on the chance of saving Rest, at the risk of sacrificing our soldiers?

Or. . . . . .do we kill Rest here to ensure the most people survive, making sure his desperate struggle isn’t in vain?

We’re faced with the ultimate choice right now.

But—we never made that choice.

No, we couldn’t make it.

Before we could decide, fate had already been sealed in this situation.

“. . . . . .What?”

What suddenly leapt into our view was just as shocking, if not more so, than the brutality by Beast King.

Suddenly, a hand blade pierced through Rest’s chest, his heart.

And it wasn’t Beast King who did it.

It wasn’t me, Stella, Doug-san, or Blade.

It wasn’t anyone who was confronting Rest here.

It was Rest himself who had pierced his own chest.

“Cough. . . . . .”

Blood spilled from Rest’s mouth.

Even more so, blackish-blue blood oozed from the hole in his chest where his arm was pulled out.

As if to expel all the tainted, demonic blood from within him.

“”Rest!””

Shaken by the sight, we immediately ran to Rest.

Stella, with her superior physical abilities, reached Rest in an instant and held his collapsing body.

“『Advanced Healing』! 『Advanced Healing』! 『Advanced Healing』!”

She continued to cast healing magic in a voice that almost sounded like crying.

She used high-level healing magic without even chanting.

I also did what little I could, casting beginner-level healing magic on Rest.

I hated my own inadequacy, unable to skip the chant.

Still, we kept using healing magic.

Both Stella and I, over and over again.

Despite that, Rest’s body, far from recovering, gradually crumbled like ashes and vanished.

The heart was likely the demon’s vulnerable point, which had probably transformed Rest into one of its kind.

For a human, it would undoubtedly be a fatal loss.

Due to such a mortal wound, first, the bat-like large wings turned to ashes, then the extended fangs shattered, and the arms, along with the sharpened claws, disappeared. Ironically, it almost seemed as if Rest’s body were returning to human form.

“Stella-san. . . . . .Allan-san. . . . . .”

“?!”

“You’re conscious!”

From Rest, who feebly spoke while in Stella’s arms, we sensed a return of the rationality that had vanished until now.

Moreover, there was no sign of the frenzied state when he was controlled. Despite being on the verge of death, he appeared incredibly calm.

Perhaps the demonic blood was leaving him, freeing him from his possession.

“I’m sorry. . . . . .for causing. . . . . .so much trouble. . . . . .”

“You idiot! You’re not forgiven until you’ve apologized to everyone!”

“Just like Stella said. You owe everyone an apology. You’re not allowed to die until that’s done.”

To our messages disguised as anger, saying “Don’t die,” Rest gave an incredibly fleeting smile.

A smile full of regret, yet somehow accepting his own fate.

Neither Stella nor I are too dull to understand what that meant.

“I’m sorry. . . . . .Maybe it’s impossible. . . . . .Please tell everyone, especially my brother. . . . . .that I’m really sorry.”

“No way! Absolutely not!”

“That’s right! Why are you giving up so easily!”

When you’re on the brink of death, it’s your willpower that ultimately determines whether you live or die.

If you cling to life without giving up, there are times you’ll be saved. Conversely, giving up will easily plunge you into the abyss of death.

I’ve been on the verge of death many times and even died once, so I know I’m right.

“Keep your wits about you! I’ll never forgive you if you die after tormenting Stella’s heart so much! I’ll haunt you until the end of my life!”

“Hahaha. . . . . .Even at a time like this, Stella-san is your top priority. . . . . .That’s so like you, Allan-san.”

Is this really the time for jokes?!

“I really don’t want to be haunted until the end of my life. . . . . .

But this time, it seems truly hopeless. . . . . .

. . . . . .If possible, I’d like you to send me off peacefully.”

“What are you saying?! I won’t let you die! I absolutely won’t let you die!”

Stella uses more of her magical power for Healing Magic.

I also give my all to my amateurish Healing Magic, hoping it would help in some way.

Nevertheless, Rest’s body continues to disintegrate, gradually turning into ash.

“Why?! Why isn’t it healing?!”

Stella cries out in a tearful voice.

With his cracked hand, Rest wipes away Stella’s tears.

“Stella-san, please don’t cry. . . . . .

It’s okay. . . . . .Actually, right now, I’m not that scared of dying. . . . . .I’m not that sad either. . . . . .

Because I can die not as a puppet controlled by demons, but as 『Rest・Valkyrias』. . . . . .”

“Huh?!”

Rest spoke with narrowed, calm eyes.

As if it were his last will, he revealed what was in his heart.

“My life was mired in jealousy. . . . . .

Compared to Grandfather, compared to Brother, I hated how I fell short of both. . . . . . .

But yesterday, after crossing swords with Allan-san. . . . . .After touching Allan-san’s sword that broke through a talent wall far thicker than mine, I thought, ‘I should try harder too’. . . . . .

I was able to look forward. . . . . .”

The expression on Rest’s face was truly calm as he spoke.

Who would have thought that the casual sword fight, meant to be a slight diversion, would have had such an impact on Rest?

But hearing that it seemed to clear away his regrets made it hard to feel purely happy about it.

“In the end, I was controlled by the demons, but. . . . . .Allan-san thoroughly struck and scolded the darkness in my exploited heart. . . . . . .

Thanks to that, I was able to resist in the very end. . . . . . I’m glad you were my rival. . . . . .”

Stop it?!

Just yesterday you were acting all high and mighty, criticizing me, and now you look at me with such clear eyes?

It’s making me tear up!

“Stella. . . . . .The days I spent with you were joyful. . . . . .

I was so happy that you cared for me, swinging your sword recklessly, trying to catch up to my brother. . . . . .

In Grandfather’s strict training. . . . . .you kept going without a word of complaint. . . . . .always striving until you were exhausted. . . . . .you were incredibly cool, and I’ve always admired you. . . . . .”

“Uh. . . . . .Ugh. . . . . .!”

Unable to hold back her tears, Stella finally broke down, sobbing like a child.

Rest watched Stella with a troubled look.

Just as he reached out to wipe away her tears, his hand disintegrated into ash.

As the countdown to the end inexorably continued, a new visitor appeared on the scene.

“What is this. . . . . .?!”

That was an old knight, clad in honest armor.

It was Ruberto-san.

Coincidentally, at this timing, all members of the Valkyrias clan present in this town had gathered.

Blade is probably unconscious due to pain.

Upon seeing us, Ruberto-san quickly assessed the situation and rushed to Rest’s side.

“Rest. . . . . .!”

“Grandfather. . . . . .I’m sorry. . . . . .even in the end, I have shamed the Valkyrias’ name as such a useless grandchild. . . . . .”

“. . . . . .Foolish child.”

Ruberto-san turned a sorrowful gaze toward his grandson, who was apologizing even at the brink of death.

“The name of the Valkyrias didn’t matter!

I wanted you, all of you, to overcome your roles as divine protection holders, to survive the era of the Demon King, and to be happy!

For the sake of your parents, who fought bravely and perished. . . . . .”

“Grandfather. . . . . .Is that so. . . . . .”

Upon hearing Ruberto-san’s feelings, Rest looked surprised.

“So, I was truly loved after all. . . . . .”

He smiled genuinely happy.

Did this guy really think Ruberto-san didn’t love him?

There’s no way that’s true.

There’s no reason to scold someone you don’t care about with such intensity.

There’s no reason to even devote your days off to training them.

“Thank you. . . . . .I am truly blessed. . . . . .”

Finally realizing that love, Rest smiles.

Tears flow, yet still looking truly happy.

There must be many unfinished things.

It’s probably filled with regrets.

Even so, at this moment of death, Rest wears a face that can truly believe they were saved.

“Oh, right. . . . . .I must say this. . . . . .Stella. . . . . .”

“What is it?”

Stella hastily wiped away her tears to hear Rest’s final words.

To Stella, Rest gave his last message.

“Please, be happy with Allan-san.”

As he spoke those words, the overcast sky slightly parted, and a beam of sunlight shone down, gently enveloping Rest.

As if called to heaven by the light, Rest’s body rapidly turned to ash and disappeared.

And so, ━━Rest・Valkyrias ended his brief life in the warm light, in the arms of the woman he loved, not as a demon puppet but as a human being.

Rest never did convey his feelings to Stella in the end.

Far from it, he used his last words to bless us.

Not just empty words like he muttered when he turned his back on me yesterday, but words from the bottom of his heart, filled with his life.

He prioritized the happiness of the one he loved over his own feelings.

Ah, really. . . . . .

“Damn fool. . . . . .”

If you do something like that, you’re not going to be cursed, you know.

Without you telling me, I will definitely make Stella happy.

Not that it’s an excuse. . . . . .but may you rest in peace, my love rival.

A single tear rolled down my cheek.

Stella burst into tears, and Ruberto-san clenched his fist tightly, holding back his own tears.

And so, we lost a future hero.


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